August 11, 2010

BlogVice: Getting Rid of Paci


After James' multiple fights with the coffee table and couch (twice landing on his teeth) and after two visits to the dentist and being scolded, I was determined to break the paci habit.

Well, that's not completely true. Deep down, I did not care if he had a paci until he was thirty. He was going on three. He only used that paci in the crib (yes, he's still in a crib too - shut up), and I did not think it was that bad. I mean, it's not like I was still breastfeeding him.

But when the dentist said that James could suffer issues with the actual jaw, the roof of his mouth and other scary and expensive horrors... I decided that was it. No more paci.

So I bought a tree.

The infamous "paci tree" idea. Rumor has it: you tell the kid that this magic tree needs pacis to grow, then plant the tree with the pacis under the roots, and voila! the kid is supposed to be cured from the habit. I liked it, and we needed some landscaping. Couldn't hurt.

I read about the paci fairy. And rewards. And stickers. And then my mom said a friend of hers actually told her son: "the bugs got the pacis." While that kid may no longer use a pacifier, I bet he's scared to death of bugs. I did not want to trade one problem for another.

So I decided to go with the tree.

Well, the day I brought the tree home, we experienced a torrential downpour (and hail). Now there's a sign for you. The problem: I had already made up my mind to get rid of the paci, so it had to be done that day. I had mentally prepared for the incessant screams of paci paci paci mommmmmmmy!!! And I was ready.

At naptime, I said, "James, after this nap we have to tell the paci bye-bye. This is the last time we'll have a paci, ok?" I was thinking the rain would stop and we could plant the tree when he woke up.

He looked at me, and strangely muttered, "Paci bye bye." And I nodded in agreement.

Well, the rain continued, and no paci tree happened. Then bedtime rolled around. Bath and change. He's in the crib, and I think, screw it, let's go cold turkey. So, I just remind him that the paci has gone bye-bye. "James, remember how we said bye bye to the paci today?"

"Paci bye bye," he says. He thinks for a second and says, "Okay."

I'm thinking, whatever, and bracing myself for the tantrum. But there is nothing as I step out of the room. Quiet... as I head down the stairs. One hour. Tick tock. Two hours. Nothing. I check the monitor. How is this even possible?

We head to bed. I lay awake most of the night thinking I am on an episode of Punked or James found a spare paci in the crib. But by five o'clock the following morning, I am completely shell-shocked. We were paci cured.

The next night was fine, and the next and the next.

He asked for the paci on night five, but then laughed and said, "Paci bye bye."

If I had a million dollars and had been asked to bet on the disappearance and success of Operation Get Rid 'O Paci, I would have placed all million on ONE outcome: tantrums, fits, biting and eventually me giving him the paci so I could sleep just one hour.

Parenthood never ceases to amaze me.

Now, why do I consider this an "advice" posting? Well, here's why. My advice for the paci is: do whatever you want - it's a total crapshoot. Heck, try "paci goes bye bye" and let me know how it goes.

My real advice from this post: never underestimate those little buggers that are your children. Sometimes, their inner genius emerges...and we are all a little surprised.

Best of luck with your habit smashings!

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